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Windows 7: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

31 Mar 2015   #910
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

No Kieran, I am afraid it is not possible. Windows always starts after a clean install with empty user profile folders (read: no personal content).

The drive where you have the Users folder now located should not contain a folder named Users when you sysprep. It should also not be renamed to something else but totally removed. This is the short checklist to do what you want to do correctly:
  • Backup your personal content from all user profiles to an external drive
    • Do not include the AppData folders in this backup! Using old appdata on new installation is a sure way to get a screwed up Windows. Only copy and backup the docs, pics, music, videos, saved games and such
  • Shutdown the PC
  • Disconnect the HDD, only leaving the SSD connected
  • Boot with Windows 7 install media, perform a clean install
  • When installation is done and you get to first dialog asking you to create the initial first user account, enter Audit Mode with CTRL+SHIFT+F3
  • When in Audit Mode, close the Sysprep GUI by clicking Cancel and shutdown the PC
  • Connect the HDD
  • Boot the PC, it boots automatically back to Audit Mode
  • Wipe the HDD clean, create a partition for the Users folder
  • Run the Sysprep relocating the Users folder
  • When ready and you are on the Windows desktop with your usual user account, restore the backed up personal content
Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Mar 2015   #911
Kieran28

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Thanks very much for the prompt reply.
Is it absolutely necessary to wipe the HDD clean?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2015   #912
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

No, it's not necessary. What is important is that it does not contain any Windows system folders or files from any old installation, not even renamed.

If the only system folder the HDD contains is Users, backup the personal content and remove the folder. Also if you had used this method to relocate the ProgramData folder, remove it, too.

All other content can stay on the HDD. Notice that backing up the content of the Users folder to another folder on the same drive is a no go, too. The user files will in that case remain flagges belonging to an older Windows insallation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2015   #913
Kieran28

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Great, thanks. I will attempt this tonight or tomorrow.
Again, thanks for the prompt replies.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

31 Mar 2015   #914
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

You are welcome. Let us know how it went.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2015   #915
Kieran28

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Hi Kari,
Quick question about backing up the Users folder content. The folder contains several users' folders. Can I move a user's folder (e.g. d:\users\kieran) to the root of the HDD (out of the Users system folder) and then delete the Users folder? Or will having the user folder "kieran" (now d:\kieran) mess up Win7? Is an individual user folder also a system file?
Thanks
Kieran
EDIT:
I just realized you already answered this question. :P
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2015   #916
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kieran28 View Post
Hi Kari,
Quick question about backing up the Users folder content. The folder contains several users' folders. Can I move a user's folder (e.g. d:\users\kieran) to the root of the HDD (out of the Users system folder) and then delete the Users folder? Or will having the user folder "kieran" (now d:\kieran) mess up Win7? Is an individual user folder also a system file?
Thanks
Kieran
EDIT:
I just realized you already answered this question. :P
Although about a different version of Windows, I suggest you read this question at our sister site the TenForums.com, and my response to it: Users Folder - Move Location in Windows 10 - Page 4 - Windows 10 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2015   #917
Kieran28

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Hi Kari,
The re-install of W7 to my SSD was going well... until I stepped away during the final windows update period (end of step 5 in your "old school geek" tutorial). In step 4, I chose not to set up User profiles yet, as I thought having a clean backup image with no users would be good given the situation with my HDD. So I did not set up any user profiles yet. Instead, I went ahead with step 5, and installed all the latest drivers, a few programs (IE11, chrome) and then set windows update off to do its thing, and I went to bed. When I returned to the computer just now, the system had gone to sleep. I woke it up with a mouse shake, and it was asking for a username and password to log in. I just clicked the continue arrow, and it went to the Welcome Screen, showing one user, Administrator and it was logged in. I tried clicking on it, and it says the account has been disabled. So I'm stuck. Should I re-boot? Start the re-install over again from scratch (really would rather not, but wouldn't be the end of the world)?
Thanks again for your help,
Kieran
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2015   #918
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

The thing with the built-in admin profile in Audit Mode is that if you sign out for any reason, locking the PC for a moment to get a cup of coffee or let it go to sleep or hibernate, the account will be disabled. Luckily, it will only be disabled for that session, a reboot fixes it.

A reboot brings Windows back to Audit Mode and you can continue, no harm done. On the page where it tells you the account is disabled after trying to sign back in, click OK, then the small arrowhead in Shutdown options and select Restart.

Click OK:
User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-2015-04-04_17h07_57.png
Open the Shutdown options menu by clicking the arrowhead, select Restart from the menu that opens:
User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-2015-04-04_17h09_50.png
In the future when in Audit Mode, do not lock the PC, sign out or let the PC sleep or hibernate. If you do, no harm is done but Windows must be restarted to let the built-in admin sign back to Audit Mode.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #919
Kieran28

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

OK, I recovered from that problem, and now have another. After installing several programs (per step 5) I shut down as I had to be away from the pc for a few days. Upon reboot just now, I got to audit mode, stopped WMPNetworksvc, then set sysprep to "audit" and "quit" and closed it. I was then given this message: "A fatal error occured while trying to sysprep the machine." Not sure what to do now. Re-do the clean re-install? Ignore and continue?
Thanks...
EDIT: I checked registry HKLM/system/setup/status/sysprepstatus and GeneralizationState is 7, and CleanupState is 1.
slmgr /dlv yields a remaining windows rearm count of 4.
Also tried uninstall & reinstall of msdtc.
re-ran sysprep, set to audit & quit, and still got the fatal error.
EDIT2: I decided to try to create the system image at this point, as I was pretty much ready to do so anyway. Alas, when I tried to run windows "create a system image" I got the error, "This service cannot be started in Safe Mode (0x8007043C)"

Thanks again for any help...
Kieran
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation




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